Mad Hatters in 1 100 rounds of golf marathon

GOLFERS participating in the annual six-day “Mad Hatter” golf tournament at the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club will play between 900 and 1 100 rounds of golf, according to club manager Corrie van Zyl.

THE MAD HATTER: The Mad Hatters golf tournament kicks off on Monday (April 24) and, with musical entertainment every evening at the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club, this year should be a hoot as well as a test of skills for those taking part in the later section

Started 22 years ago as a major fundraiser for the Port Alfred charities and the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club, the Mad Hatter tournament runs from Monday April 24 to Saturday April 29.

This year’s tournament has already attracted a large number of entries, including the regulars from Kimberley, Johannesburg, Springs, the Reef, Durban and Cape Town, according to Van Zyl.

“Out of town golfers have been booking with us since the start of the year,” Wessel Benson, general manager of the Royal St Andrews Hotel, said.

Some are bringing partners who will be enjoying spa treatments at the hotel and relaxing on the Port Alfred beaches.

“The tournament provides a big boost to the local tourism industry. All the accommodation establishments and restaurants benefit as up to 400 visitors come from the rest of the Eastern Cape and South Africa to enjoy six days of golf and the wonderful April weather on the Sunshine Coast,” said Benson.

A Mad Hatter prize giving dinner on Friday April 28 complete with hats will be one of the highlights of this year’s tournament.

The day is being sponsored by the Royal St Andrews Hotel, which is a chip away from the 12th green on the course.

The golf club is honouring the Mad Hatter tradition, and anyone attending the evening without a mad hat will be fined, with the proceeds going to charity.

“A number of local charities benefit from the tournament. Hospice raises funds on course, and we are able to give thousands more to other charities every year,” said Van Zyl.

Benson said: “Of course we will also be rewarding those who join in the fun of the Mad Hatter dinner. There will be prizes for the best hats on the night, as well as other spot prizes of Highlander Pub vouchers.”

One of the raffle prizes is a weekend for two at the Royal St Andrews.

The tournament on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday consists of “relatively relaxing” Better Ball Stableford competitions.

The Thursday, Friday and Saturday are more challenging Individual Stableford competitions.

Up to 228 rounds of golf will be played on both the Friday and Saturday as the fields are filling up fast, according to Van Zyl.

The prestigious Order of Merit is presented to the individual who accumulates the most points over these three days.

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